As someone had rightly quoted, “Photographers use their cameras as tools of exploration, instruments for change, and passports to the inner sanctums. Their images are proof that photography matters – now more than ever.”
A good photo comprise of many things, not only you must hit the shutter at the right time and moment, but you have to take care of the color correction, and composition as well. Wedding photography is not just about making a portrait, it is about capturing a moment, an emotion. And for this to happen, one must interact with people and know how to catch the right moment and save it to savor for life. Representing over a dozen countries from around the globe, these 15 photographers earned a lot of respect, fame and love from everyone for their bold, creative, candid, storytelling, and visionary images. But do you have any idea, that they left their respective jobs just to discover the passion of photography and live a life they dreamt of? Yes, it’s as real as our existence! Come, read below and find what they answered, when we at ShaadiSaga asked, when/why did you decide to follow your passion outside your professional career and how do they feel now about their decision, this is what they have to share exclusively with us! In no particular order, here are 15 Great Photographers Who Dared To Live Their Dream!
We were photography enthusiasts way back in 2006 and clicked everything that moved and didn't move around us! We slowly accumulated our Cameras and lenses along the way, as we pursued photography as a serious hobby. We both (Jake & Alistair) belonged to the IT industry and had secure, well paying comfortable jobs and On-site deployments in the US for long term. The job-title of a photographer, and even more a wedding-photographer is looked down upon by Indian society. Family and friends around us were petrified, amused and ridiculed us, albeit not on our face, when we decided to let go of our jobs and start Knots & Vows. They could not comprehend why we were quitting jobs with US deployments, earning in dollars, good salaries to get into a job that was traditionally done by people who don't have a proper education. Today, 4 years after we quit our jobs, I am sitting in a Cafe in NewYork, and writing this up having shot in beautiful places like Jaipur, Dharamshala, Kerala, Dubai, and now USA. For us it was the desire to work for our ourselves and do something we love doing, that pushed us over the edge. Along the way we discovered 'the best way to ruin a hobby is to make it your job'. But even more importantly, we learnt, 'Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life'.
Before taking up Photography full time in Nov 2012, I was an R&D Engineer at a multinational company and I was quite good at my job too. In 2010, I picked up my first DSLR. Since I travelled quite frequently with friends, all I wanted then was to document my travel. But soon I got completely addicted to Photography and the various possibilities it offers. I loved dabbling with different genres of Photography - Travel, People, Street, Fashion etc. I tried my hands at everything trying to figure out the genre of my liking. I ventured into Wedding Photography in 2011 when my classmate persuaded me to take up her Wedding Shoot. I ended up enjoying that shoot so much that I knew that’s what I wanted to do. But being an engineer was something I loved so much (maybe just a tad bit less than how much I loved being a Photographer). So the decision to shift into photography full time was not really an easy one. You cannot do too many things and be good at it all. I knew I had to focus my time into one. Now, almost 3 years later, I am glad I did not play it safe. The fear of not having a steady and secure monthly income was scary initially, but I got over it. I do miss the corporate world sometimes, especially my friends and colleagues and all those geeky conversations we used to have!! Being your own boss, you almost always end up pushing yourself so hard that you don’t find time to socialize. But I am very happy with my decision! I know that it was one of the best decisions of my life.
Pulkesin shares, “I was flying across the North Pole from Paris to Orlando and while flying, the most surreal moment happened: The Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis featured across the dark skies over Iceland and the North Pole. Flying on the flight deck, I pulled out my Nikon Coolpix and tried capturing but nothing would get me what my visual senses saw or experienced. I think that began the journey into Photography. Being an Airline Captain, I knew I would be experiencing a lot of beautiful sight seeing in my career so it was quite important I preserve those everlasting memories. I didn't quite know that photography became so intoxicated that I spend almost every day learning how to keep pushing the boundary. I have two full time professions and I manage it quite well. Flying is my first love and passion and I fly about 6-8 days a month full time and the remaining days goes into my second love; Photography. My first love is quite controlling and regulated and second love gives me the independence and freedom to create. A balance of what anyone would need.
About 6 years back, she left her cushy editorial job in Delhi and moved to Bangalore. It started with a feeling of restlessness & not knowing where that came from. So she took a break to travel & study for a year, which is when, without any plan whatsoever, photography started taking up all her time and thoughts. That's when she considered actually following her heart to see where it takes her & here she is, witnessing the best and most special moments of one’s life. She says, “this is the best decision she I ever made for myself. Not only do I derive complete satisfaction with what I do, how I do it and what I have achieved so far, I love the fact that even if I may be working constantly it never ever feels like work. The term "Monday blues" means nothing to me. I work on weekends, holidays & sometimes even put off holidays for a job without feeling frustrated about it. The best part is that you get to decide when and how you work & you decide when you need a break. You are your own boss and if you do screw up, you face the brunt as well! It is hard work, which always pays off, but it is so rewarding on a personal level too. Also, the kind of exposure to places, people and cultures has broadened my perspective and helped my personal growth immensely.”
Krunal finished his bachelor in computer application and joined India's top technology outsourcing firm (TCS) and for a few months it was all making him feel like he is doing above average than others, but soon found 8 hours single chair job not so fun as he wanted it to be. He also shares, “After working for two years I saved to get a basic DSLR and started shooting my friends and whatever that makes me happy. Soon people started appreciating my work and a leading photographer asked me to join him as assistant. This was very crucial time of my life to decide whether to be with socially appreciated tech job or go ahead with my passion. After a few days of brainstorming, I decided to quit my job going against my family (I still remember my father calling me useless person and yelling me not to quite such a good job) and joined my senior photographer, where I learned the art in detail. After a few years, I started my own firm with just me as all and souls of company by all grace of god today we are getting work from pan India and having a solid team of 18 professionals working together. So far 148 love stories shot and it’s going ahead like never ending work. Life is good if you want it to be good. I did what I felt I wanted to do and did it my way.”
A 28 year old candid and contemporary wedding photographer who seeks a lot of enthusiasm in travel photography and feels he belongs in the streets telling stories about the infinite things that you may come across out there in the open world. Aniket shares, “I am a Science head and a geek. A Biochemistry grad from Mumbai University and an MBA (Marketing) by academics and have worked successfully with media, branding and internet companies for a span of 2 years+. Eventually I gave up on the corporate world to follow my passion of photography, film making and mainly story telling. Initially, it was mainly about travel and street photography for me when a few people recognized my work and asked me to do their weddings and that’s how things started. Weddings give me a sense of happiness. A sense of bliss to make that very important day of a woman and a man and their respective families bigger and even more gorgeous. I don’t think I can call it a mere adrenaline rush. It’s something bigger than passion, mixed with a sense of freedom and creation. And as a candid photographer, I strongly believe there is life in every moment, you just need to see it and show it! :)”
The wildlife in Africa inspired her to buy the first DSLR and she was instantly amazed by how little she was aware of anything else when her eye was fixed to the camera. It was like meditation... I felt focused and lost track of time, hunger and thirst. This was the moment I realized my passion. Both, Africa and buying camera equipment are insanely expensive, so she thought her passion had to be put to use elsewhere! She was the owner of a children's day care center in England for 2 years and her office overlooked the playground. She started taking photos of the kids playing and the parents were overjoyed, which is where her love for candid photography began. She adds, “And then there were weddings! Suddenly every friend of mine was getting hitched and a capture of the most special day of their lives was the best present I could think of. Now I photograph the weddings of people I've never met before, and leave the wedding feeling like I've gained at least one new family if not two :) After 6 years of shooting, I still feel the same thrill, and calm when my camera is my eye, and I'll never be tired of hearing "OMG your cameras are bigger than you!”
It was after almost three years of his professional experience as an Interior Visualizer that I decided to leave my settled life to my passion of photography. Today, I feel more contented with my work. Not confided in the wall, but a mind free of thoughts and a life full of experiments.
He was pursuing MCA from MIT, Manipal when he realized that photography is more of his thing as compared to the monotonous, corporate, black & white technology. He says, “I couldn’t see things as 1 and 0 and was always fascinated by colors. Hence, I decided to capture the best of the world through my creative perspective.” With appreciation and support of his friends and family, he gathered all the courage, pulled up the socks and embarked upon this endless journey of fulfilling his dreams. Capturing emotions and colors have always been a driving force and he decided to plunge into the creative professional area of wedding photography. With consistency, scrupulous approach and focused, result oriented, hard work, he discovered the specific area of candid photography.
Gayatri shares, “I'd been an amateur photographer for as long as I can remember, and I bought my first DLSR when I got my first job in the banking sector. In a way I am thankful that I had a well paying job, when I first got into photography, that I could afford to buy gear guilt-free, travel and take pictures at leisure. I really enjoyed photography, but it was a hobby for the 7 years that I worked in Singapore and in New York. A few years ago, when my husband and I decided to move to India for good, I thought I'd give a career in photography a serious shot. I knew that if it didn't work out, I'd have my banking experience to fall back on. So when I came to India, I found a job with another photographer and worked under him for around 2 years, learning the ropes. I slowly graduated to working on my own and I am happily independent now. There is a lot more freedom in my life now so that is definitely something I love, but the flip side is that you need a lot more self discipline to get any work done. Since I shoot a lot of weddings, work is seasonal and there are weeks when I don't have a lot of work, and then during wedding season it is just back to back non-stop shoots. If there was one thing I miss most about corporate life, it is the monthly salary :) But the bottom line is, unlike before, now I do only what I want to do. I can say no or yes to assignments as I please. I get to choose my holidays. I have a lot more time for family and for travel.
Their story is a stereotype. They both have done MBA and were working in MNCs. Photography remained their passion, but it wasn’t until a friend asked, if they could cover his wedding. They had never shot a wedding before, but to their own astonishment, the results were good. Then typically as it would happen, they started to get more such requests and it wasn’t long before, they realized that they should start charging for the services ;) And so the wheel began to roll and there came a point where they were not able to manage their corporate jobs with the wedding shoots. Though they were shooting weddings since 2012, it was truly in 2014, when they decided to take the plunge full time. Aditya says, “It was not a very hard decision to make. It was our passion after all. Looking back at that day, that very moment when we quit our jobs, it was nervousness coupled with excitement. Looking back at that decision over a year now, I think it was the best decision we took. We took a calculated risk and it’s worked out well for us :)
Gracian says, “I guess my time in travelling in Europe for an office transition made a huge impact. I was pretty much alone in new places so to pass the time I started walking about and doing a lot of street photography. I started feeling that I was happier with a camera for those few hours of the day than I was before a computer for the past 5 years of my life. Once back in India with this new realization, I knew the only thing to do was to quit and follow my heart. It was definitely a tough decision, but one which was carried out with ease. Initially I did have the fear of not going to make it in this field, but that’s where the support of family and friends really came through and helped me out a lot and I owe them everything that I am today. I guess any major decisions in life have a Risk involved, but Belief, Faith and Skill would make the scale tip in your favor.”
He started his career in 2012 after quitting the job in software's. Post his MBA, once he had a job, he continued his passion for photography until 2012 and decided to give it a try and pursue the career in this exciting field. Anoop says, “God has been kind to me as I had a boost in my career after I won Canon Photo Marathon 2012 and was in Australia, where I had some professional exposure which eventually helped me to structure my goals.. Since then there has been no looking back and I started my career in this field as a wedding photographer. It has been 3 years now and I have covered more than 200 weddings from various part of the world. Being from a very educated family and background, it was a very difficult decision to switch my career from software to Photography. I had no mentor whom I had to look up to, hence, it was quite a brave decision by my end which was supported by my family and friends. The only thing that really helped me to take this leap was my belief and the fact that, "if not now than never" really pushed me hard. So yes, it was quite an important decision of my life, where everything turned around thereafter.
FotoCult is a brainchild of Sunil Verma. Born and brought up in Delhi and an MBA graduate, he always had an affinity for travel and photography. But he did`t realize his intensity for the love of it until 2011 when he actually bid adieu to his well settled, lucrative banking career in Dubai, only to follow his passion, and his long cherished dream of becoming a photographer. In 2012 he came back to India and founded Fotocult. What was started as an organization of a one man army has today grown into a team of multiple photographers, who work very hard to create magic behind the lens in every wedding. “Do everything for what you dream or think that is in your strengths! There are hiding geniality, strength and magic in the courage.” – Ciril Jazbec Note: All photos used in this feature are the property of their respective photographers.